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Rocket camp available for local middle schoolers
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Rocket camp available for local middle schoolers

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Rocket Camp is ready for blast off for local middle schoolers this summer.

East Burke Middle School will host its first ever Rocket Camp led by Andrea Gladden, the Project Lead the Way teacher there.

Rocket Camp is an interactive program for sixth- to eighth-grade students who attend a middle school in Burke County. The camp runs from from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 3-6 with breakfast and lunch provided each day.

Gladden is excited to teach her passion for all things space and for students to learn many different skills throughout the camp process.

“Space, and anything related to space has always been a passion of mine. I love doing anything related to space,” Gladden said. “Partially that comes from me not being able to go to space camp when I was in sixth grade. My parents couldn’t afford to send me ... so my whole life that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do was go to space camp. … I said if can’t go to space camp, I’m going make it happen.”

Similar to space camp, students will be learning different things about space, rockets and engineering. They will be working with different types of rockets and designing them from scratch.

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“So with the engineering experiences, we’re going to do lots of various types of rockets because I want the kids to be able to work,” Gladden said. “I want the kids to be able to look at their designs and look for the strengths and the weaknesses in their designs. … We’ll be moving from straw rockets to the NASA pop rockets, and they’re just going to be improving their designs along the way so they’ll be able to do more than one iteration as they go through the process.

“We will then move to the hydro rocket, and then after that, we have come pool noodle slingshot rockets, and so basically they’re going to be able to take all of these designs and compare their designs to make them more aerodynamic. They will figure out more ways to streamline them or to block the air and learn more about the air pressure and the aerodynamics along the way so that they can apply those for an Estes model rocket. … The model rockets are the ones with the engines that go pretty hard, and we’re going to be engineering those from scratch as well. … Then we’re just going to launch and see how well they perform.”

Gladden wants students to realize building a rocket isn’t just about the mechanical engineering aspect, but other necessary skills as well. She wants students who participate in this program to learn the communicative and design skills that go along with the engineering aspect.

“Well it’s not just the rocket camp; it’s more the engineering involved in the rocket camp,” Gladden said. “I know first from experience that that’s something I’m interested in, but it’s more than the engineering perspective because we’re working with, not just the engineering side of it. We’re working with the soft skills, the communication, the collaboration. The problem solving, all of those skills that are involved in the whole process.

“So it’s more than just rocket camp, and those are skills that these kids are going to need when they get out into the workforce and they’re going to need them in school every day. The more that we can promote those skills, the better off our kids are going to be in the future.”

Spots for the East Burke Middle Rocket Camp are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and seats have already begun to fill up quickly.

Those interested in Rocket Camp should contact Gladden at agladden@burke.k12.nc.us for more information or call the school at 828-397-7446.

Sydni Hall is a staff writer and can be reached at 828-432-8907 or at shall@morganton.com.

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Sydni Hall has been covering education, features and new business for The News Herald since April 2021.

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